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A Preliminary Feasibility Study on Wind Resource and Assessment of a Novel Low Speed Wind Turbine for Application in Africa

Kehinde Adeyeye1,*, Nelson Ijumba1,2, Jonathan Colton1,3

1 African Centre of Excellence, Energy for Sustainable Development, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
2 School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
3 George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA

* Corresponding Author: Kehinde Adeyeye. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Wind Energy Development and Utilization)

Energy Engineering 2022, 119(3), 997-1015.


This paper posits that a low-speed wind turbine design is suitable for harnessing wind energy in Africa. Conventional wind turbines consisting of propeller designs are commonly used across the world. A major hurdle to utilizing wind energy in Africa is that conventional commercial wind turbines are designed to operate at wind speeds greater than those prevalent in most of the continent, especially in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA). They are heavy and expensive to purchase, install, and maintain. As a result, only a few countries in Africa have been able to include wind energy in their energy mix. In this paper, the feasibility of a novel low-speed wind turbine based on a Ferris wheel is demonstrated for low wind speed applications in Africa. The performance of Ferris wheel wind turbines (FWT) with 61 m (200 ft), 73 m (240 ft) and 104 m (341 ft) diameter rims and an 800 kW generator are evaluated for selected African cities. The research also compares the Weibull wind distribution of the African cities of interest. A comparison between the FWT and the conventional commercial wind turbines in terms of efficiency, rated wind speed, cost, performance, and power to weight is included. Results show that the FWT has the potential for economic power generation at rated wind speeds of 6.74 m/s, which are lower than the average of 12 m/s for conventional wind turbines and have lower power to weight ratios of 5.2 kW/tonne as compared to 6.0–9.2 kW/tonne for conventional wind turbines.


Cite This Article

Adeyeye, K., Ijumba, N., Colton, J. (2022). A Preliminary Feasibility Study on Wind Resource and Assessment of a Novel Low Speed Wind Turbine for Application in Africa. Energy Engineering, 119(3), 997–1015.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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